Arlington County

Arlington Residents Complain of Dangerous, Roaring Cars

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People in Arlington want a solution to a neighborhood nuisance, saying loud cars and motorcycles are becoming more common and more dangerous. One man is leading the charge to make neighborhood streets more peaceful.

Resident David Cheek captured roaring engines and speeding cars on residential streets in the Clarendon area. 

The issue has been going on for a while on and off, neighbors said, but it’s been getting worse during the pandemic. 

“Basically it will wake you up, it will cause you mental stress and no one wants it,” Cheek said. 

Video taken by Cheek’s neighbor shows someone getting hit by a car last month. While the circumstances are unclear, residents said it highlights some of the dangers in the neighborhood. 

Cheek is trying to do something about the fast cars and loud exhaust systems.  

“I yell at people to slow down and they don’t care because there’s no enforcement,” Cheek said. “It’s really frustrating.”

He’s hit a few roadblocks. Improvements like “Do not enter” signs and speed bumps are expensive, and they could take years to implement. 

Police can no longer pull a driver over in Virginia just for having a loud car. It was part of an effort to reduce bias-based traffic stops. 

Arlington board member Takis Karatonis said elected officials are monitoring the increase in complaints about noise and speeding. He said the law may need to be amended so this problem can be addressed.  

“We need to find a way that we don’t have the down side of the bias there… and provide effective enforcement,” Karatonis said. “But education comes first and safety comes first.”

Many neighbors believe the cars making the most noise have been modified to be louder. They hope drivers will at least slow down when coming into their neighborhoods.

There is no quick end in sight, but residents still have hope. 

Cheek said he didn’t realize it would be so difficult to get the problem addressed, but he looks forward to his quiet neighborhood becoming just that once again. 

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